Friday, January 29, 2021

Intermediate Watercolor Homework 1/29/21, Symbolic Realism

 I noticed last week that several of you devised a stylized version of the element in your painting that was being repeated. Let's experiment with this approach for a while.


Please feel free to use your own images.

Beginning Homework , 1/29/21 Seeing in Layers

Watercolor can be a very slippery medium, as I'm sure you're finding out. Why make it any more difficult than it needs to be? I like to say "In watercolor, the easy way in the right way."

In this scene the sun is shining brightly. and everything casts a shadow. This orange wall, for example, casts a bold. dark shadow on the sandy road. Since the shadow and the surface on which it falls are very different colors, you might assume that the two must be kept from overlapping. If so, you would have to paint the shapes adjacent to one another, just barely touching. 

But it turns out that the careful way is the hard way. It would be easier just to paint the dark shadow right on top of the wash that represents the sandy road in sunlight. While it is true that the sunny and shady road are different colors, there is no reason  to keep them from overlapping. In fact, having the sunlit wash under the shadow makes a more convincing illusion than it would to make the shapes adjacent.

Light, Middle, Dark

How many layers would it take to paint the light and shadow on the yellow wall? could you 
stroke each layer on top of the previous one?

What would the first layer look like?

Light Middle, Dark
Shape by shape, it rarely takes more than three layers

For homework, paint one of the photos or copy the orange wall painting. Take a picture of your painting when all you have is the first layer. Send that along with the finished version to Diane.


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Intermediate Watercolor Homework 1/21/21 Repetative Texture


How many individual  bricks must be articulated to give the feeling that the stacks are made from many? Is it possible to depict too many? Is there a minimum number? How do you know when you've done enough?
Some of us try to suggest the presence of multiple components of bricks, or grass, or leaves on a tree. Others prefer to paint every unit. 
If we begin by making a general statement we can arrange for everyone to work within their comfort zone

A brick wall starts out as red rectangle. As you  add individual bricks you move closer to the look and feel that satisfies you. To keep from going past the point  it helps to get in the habit of putting down the brush while you still feel it needs a few more. Give it a day or two. It's easy to add more, but hard to take them away.

For homework, pick one or two of these images and practice making fewer strokes or more, in search of what feels right for you.

Beginning Watercolor 1/21/21 Light, Middle, Dark

Because watercolor is a transparent medium it makes sense to work from light to dark . A dark can cover a light more reliably than a light can cover a dark. It's your lucky day when a scene or image resolves into a sequence of light tones first, followed by middle values and then darks.

In this scene the shapes progress nicely from the lightest (sun) to the darkest (distant mountain). That means you can simply apply the lightest tones first and put progressively darker values right on top of the lighter ones. For example, the middle value of the grass could extend back all the way back and up the mountain. The mountain can then be applied as a layer of darker paint.

In this Lake Union scene what came first? The lightest area appears to be the pale yellow in the sky. The shadows on the boats are also very light. Both could be applied at the same time, followed by the clouds. Then the middle value ochre on the boats and the water. The line of trees and the ports on the boats are darkest. They can be placed anywhere you want them since they are dark enough to cover any of the earlier layers.